Why Tesla Model 3 Production is not 30,000 in 2018

That’s because I have not given you a time frame. All I have to do is wait for Tesla to release its official figures and then give you the time period for my calculations.

Unfortunately, that is what this article does, talks about production numbers without any date attached to it.

Let us dig into numbers.

Case 1: Elon’s Email

Earlier this month, CNBC released Elon Musk’s email to Tesla employees. (15.June.2018)

“It’s getting very exciting! All parts of the Model 3 production system are now above 500 and some are almost at 700 cars already. Congratulations to all on making so much progress!”

If all parts of Model 3 production are above 500, Tesla should be making at least 3,500 cars per week. Elon is certainly not going to go out of his way to hide the truth to his employees.

Case 2: What about the Vin’s?

Few hours ago, Model3Vins tweeted that Tesla registered 68 new Model 3 Vins. Highest VIN is 54003.

But Vins cannot be a definitive source for production numbers because auto companies anticipate production, register VINs in batches and they can register as many as they want.

So let us take Model3Vins (end of march) numbers and compare it with Tesla’s official figures for the first quarter.

On 30th March, the Highest Vin registered was 20581

  • Tesla had produced 12,451 Model 3s’ till March, 31 2018.
  • Highest Vin was 20,581 on March 30th.
  • Production capacity was 2,020 in the last week of March.

Where will Tesla’s Model 3 production be if the highest Vin is at 54,003?

According to Bloomberg’s best estimates Tesla must have built 39,502 Model 3s. Deduct, 2,685 Model 3s that were produced in 2017, you get 36,817 by June 20th 2018.(YTD)



We have to appreciate Bloomberg for the effort, as their estimates are very close to actual production numbers. According to Bloomberg, Tesla produced 1,915 Model 3s during the last week of March, official release was 2,020. Bloomberg estimates for the last week of Q4-2017 was 693, official release was 793.

Now Bloomberg is projecting Tesla to hit Model 3 production of more than 4000 per week within the next couple of weeks.

The problem we are facing is, when ever Tesla talks about weekly production figures most of us immediately assume that’s the least Tesla will produce every week in the future. But unfortunately, Tesla will have to slow things down or even shut down the assembly line to improve production.

It will bring down the overall numbers. But that’s the only way to increase production. What we need to be looking at is “sustained” production rate.

Tesla (according to my own guesstimates) should hit 30,000 Model 3s (production) for the second quarter, which is much better than the 9,766 Model 3s produced in Q1-18 or 2,425 units produced in Q4-17.

How did I arrive at my guesstimates?

During the fourth quarter Tesla reported that they made 793 Model 3s in the last seven working days of the quarter, 113 units per day during the week . Multiply that by 90 days, you get 10,170 units. Very close to the 9,766 units produced in the first quarter.

As production ramps up, there will be weeks when the production hits the maximum possible and there will be weeks where it will dip lower. The slow down is absolutely necessary for ramping up. Tesla had shutdown production three times since the start of this year and expect more to follow.

Let us use the same logic that we used for first quarter production.

Tesla reported that they produced 2,020 during the last week of march or 288 units per day during the week . Multiply that by 90, you get 25,965 units. That’s the minimum Tesla can hit during the second quarter.

But Tesla added another Model 3 production shift in April and started round the clock production, which will help their numbers increase further.

So reaching 30,000 Model 3s for the second quarter is in the bag for Tesla. We just have two more weeks to see how close my numbers are.

Data source: Tesla Press Release Q3-17,Q4-17 and Q1-18

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